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Could Excess Computer, TV Time Harm Kids Psychologically?
Date:10/11/2010

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Pre-teens who spent more than two hours a day in front of the TV or computer were at greater risk of having psychological problems than youngsters averaging less screen time, even if the kids also tended to be physically active, new research finds.

The study, published online Oct. 11 and in the November print issue of Pediatrics, found that the risk of psychological difficulties increased by about 60 percent when kids between 10 and 11 years old spent more than two hours daily watching TV or playing on the computer.

"Children who spent more than two hours per day watching television or using a computer were at increased risk of high levels of psychological difficulties," regardless of how physically active they were, study lead author Angie Page, from the Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences at the University of Bristol in England, and colleagues found.

Still, the experts stressed that the study can't discern whether media exposure causes psychological woes in kids, or whether troubled children simply prefer spending time in front of computers or the TV.

Previous studies have linked excessive TV viewing with childhood obesity, and both TV and computer use have been associated with psychological problems and an increase in sedentary time, according to background information in the study.

Page said the researchers decided to undertake this study because while it's known that physical activity is good for both physical and mental health in children, it wasn't clear if high physical activity levels could compensate for the adverse effects associated with high TV and computer use.

The study included more than 1,000 children between the ages of 10 and 11. The youngsters were recruited from 23 schools in Bristol, and all of the children self-reported their TV and computer use.

The researchers had all o
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